Today, I paid a visit to some of my favourite birding haunts around the
(approx. 170 km north of Sydney CBD) and saw a number of interesting species as
WOODBERY – birds seen here included a Greenshank with 6 Marsh and
3 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 130 Pied Stilts and a Swamp Harrier. Striped
Honeyeaters, as usual, were also heard here.
STOCKTON BREAKWATER – today I was amazed not to see a single
Common or a White-winged Black Tern (both are usually seen in reasonable
numbers at this time of year) and there were few other sea birds with only 10
or so Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, 10 Australasian Gannets and 2 Arctic Jaegers
very close to the northern breakwater (along the Shipwreck walk). The call of
the local Pied Butcherbirds appeared to travel quite some distance and I could
here them as I was watching the seabirds.
STOCKTON BRIDGE/FERN BAY – this was the main area of attention
for the day as I really wanted to say my farewells to all the migratory
shorebirds preparing their long travels to the Arctic Circle
(well not quite like that). Here a good selection of shorebirds were still left
to go including 4 Red-capped Plover, 10
Red-necked Stint, 2 BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPERS (very good views of both feeding
side by side and I could even see the olive base to their long and broad bills
as well as the double eye-brow), 2 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 3 Curlew Sandpipers,
9 Grey-tailed Tattler, 40 Red and 4 Great Knots (one of the later was in full
breeding plumage and all the former were in non-breeding plumage), 120
Bar-tailed (several in red dress) and 12 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Whimbrel, 10
Eastern Curlew, 12 Terek Sandpipers, 20 Pied Stilts, 2,000 Red-necked Avocets
(always an impressive sight when they take flight together) and 13 Pied
Oystercatchers. Also amongst the waders were 8 Caspian and 13 Gull-billed Terns
(all but one of the later were in breeding plumage). I also saw roosting on the
dykes on the other side of the Hunter
River, 4 Sooty Oystercatchers and a
Sacred Kingfisher flying from mangrove to mangrove at Fern
Bay. Both White-bellied Sea-eagles
and several Whistling Kites were patrolling overhead. A single male
White-fronted Chat was seen here as well as the usual Brown Honeyeaters and
Mangrove Gerygones were also calling at this location.
LENAGHAN – a nice pair of Grey Goshawks put on a good show as
they were being mobbed by a small group of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. Other
raptors seen here included a Swamp Harrier, 3 Whistling Kites, a Hobby and a
Kestrel (all within a few minutes). A small flock of White-breasted
Woodswallows were also observed hawking overhead.
POURMALONG NR – a pair of Magpie Geese with 6 well-grown young
were seen together all having a snooze at their nest. Also here was a pair of
Wandering Whistling-ducks and a few Hardhead and Australasian Shovelers. The
pair of Grey Goshawks seen at the former place also turned up at this location
and there were also more White-breasted Woodswallows.
RICHMONDVALE – a good variety of honeyeaters were seen here (and
in good numbers) including Noisy Friarbirds; White-naped, Brown-headed,
Yellow-tufted, Yellow-faced, Fuscous, White-cheeked and Scarlet Honeyeaters as
well as Eastern Spinebill. Bar-shouldered
Doves, several flocks of Little Lorikeets (constantly traveling between the
trees in flocks of 25-50), a family group of 5 Jacky Winters, 7 Dusky
Woodswallows and Varied Sitellas were also present. The flowering spotting gums
here could bring Swift Parrots or Regent Honeyeaters in the near future!
A good way to spend part of the Easter break!